By Judy Hill, Global Mission Team Member
Christ the King’s Global Mission Team is excited to welcome Jason Bergmann as our 2021 Global Mission Sunday speaker. His global perspective is an important part of his role as the Executive Director of Operation Bootstrap Africa (OBA), a Minnesota-based non-profit foundation that has been working with Africans in educating their children since 1965.
Jason Bergmann is a Minnesota native and graduate of St. Mary’s University in Winona. He has found inspiration for his life in a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior: “What are you doing for others?” He previously worked at Mercy Nursing Home and was the executive director of their foundation for five years.
He came to Operation Bootstrap Africa in 2018, feeling called by their mission to build African partnerships and strengthen their future through education, healthcare, agriculture, and other long-term development. As their name suggests, OBA has a self-help philosophy, working with local groups, using local resources, and following local priorities. OBA has worked with partners in Kenya, Tanzania, and Madagascar and is interdenominational.
In October 2020 Jason Bergmann received a text with pictures from OBA schools in Southern Madagascar. He had known about the prolonged drought there, but had not realized that famine had set in. The pictures showed children with obvious signs of malnutrition. Because of the global pandemic, Madagascar had closed its borders to international travelers. OBA did, however, get special permission from the Malagasy government to enter the country for humanitarian reasons. He will share some of his experiences from this and other African trips, both in the day’s sermon and in the 11 am adult education forum. Please join us in listening to Jason Bergmann’s stories.
By Pastor Peter Hanson
As we approach the 60th anniversary of the establishment of Christ the King Lutheran Church, we have declared a year of Jubilee. This will be a year unlike any other before (and perhaps unlike any other to come). This will be a year to celebrate God’s faithfulness to us as a congregation, as well as the faith-filled ways CtK has responded to the call to love God and love our neighbors over the years. This will be a year to take stock of what is important to our ministry, as we continue to resurface and emerge from a year of shutdown, separation, and continued uncertainty This will be a year to focus on where God is calling us in the future, using our newly debt-free status (for example) to invest ourselves and our shared resources in some bold new ventures that prepare us to sustain our ministry presence for years to come.
One of the ways we want to mark this year of Jubilee is to hear from some of the many and varied voices of life at CtK. We want to hear from our remaining charter members—those who have been part of this congregation from the very beginning. We want to hear from those who chose to call CtK home at various times since 1961, those who have seen both the consistency and the change in our ministry over the years. We want to hear from new and new-er members, those who can see benefits of the firm foundation that has been laid by those who have gone before, and who respond “I want to be part of that, too!”
Beginning in the month of October, we’ll be sharing some of these voices and the stories in our Sunday morning “Life at CtK” blog. Here’s where you can help!
Do you need a little “prompt” to get you thinking about which of these stories you’d like to share? Consider the questions below:
Sound the trumpet! Blow the ram’s horn! Let this be a year of celebration and jubilee, a year to give thanks to God for 60 years of faithful ministry, and a year to commit ourselves to 60 plus years of continued ministry together.
By Pastor John Schwehn
Then you shall have the trumpet sounded loud…And you shall hallow the fiftieth year and you shall proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you: you shall return, every one of you, to your property and every one of you to your family.
– Leviticus 25:9a-10
We are beginning our new program year at Christ the King by focusing on the biblical concept of Jubilee. With COVID continuing to rage, with violence and war throughout our world, with climate change reaping havoc on large swaths of the country, it is difficult to feel anything like jubilation.
But the year of Jubilee, laid out in Leviticus 25, is God’s way of calling us to start over, to begin again, and to let go of all that holds us captive. Every fifty years, God commands that all captives be released, all land returned, and all debts forgiven! It’s meant to disrupt cycles of generational poverty, allow the land to rest, and ensure that all people – and the earth – might live into the future with hope, equity, and mutual trust. Sadly, after Leviticus 25, the Bible is lacking in stories of God’s people actually following the command for Jubilee. Until, one day, Jesus of Nazareth stepped into the pulpit and read from the book of Isaiah, announcing that he had come to bring Jubilee to the earth:
“Jesus unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:
‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.’
- Luke 4:16b-19
In 2021, Christ the King has so much to celebrate. The generosity and faithfulness of this congregation over sixty years has freed us to engage in meaningful ministry for our neighbors, and for the land. Here are a few aspects of Jubilee springing up at CtK that we will think about together this year:
After a year of complete separation, may we keep stumbling our way into the future to which God is calling us. With a heightened appreciation of our mortality and for the gift of life that God gives us each day, we return in order to begin again with a clean slate, rejoicing in one another’s presence, and leaning fully onto the grace of God in Jesus Christ.
So blow the trumpet! God is with us.
By Pastor Ana Becerra
As I have been struggling with feelings of pain and helplessness while watching our Afghan siblings fight to escape their homes, we received the terrible news on Thursday, August 26th that our troops were attacked at Hamid Karzai International Airport by suicide bombers and gunmen. This was the deadliest day for US military (13 killed) in Afghanistan since 2011.
The next day, I received a call from my son Joshua, a Navy corpsman, who shared with me his grieving. There is no training to prepare a mother to deal with the pain when she sees her son suffering. In that moment, I could only remind Joshua (and myself) that God is our anchor. God promises to walk with us even in the midst of such a horrific tragedy.
As a Navy mom I have to support and honor any orders that Joshua might receive. And he will always be my little boy! Holding onto both of these things at once is difficult and causes me pain.
Even though my heart aches, I experience moments of comfort like during the prayers from last Sunday's morning worship service at CtK. The power of prayer is real. And when I heard the prayers raised by voices from Cristo Rey, I was reminded that I am not alone. None of us are alone in our journey towards healing, justice, and peace.
As God's people, we are called to continue to find ways to bring justice to ALL. I ask you to please continue to pray for those 13 families that lost their children as well for all the military families who continue to walk with and support our service members -- our children, partners, and parents.
May the power of the Holy Spirit move us to find ways to show compassion to one another and to share God's peace.